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Sun stops play at sizzling WTA Tournament in Basel

Schnyder tries to return a shot during her first-round tie against Carlsson

(Keystone)

Unusually high temperatures and a long day of unrelenting sunshine have claimed the first victim of the $140,000 WTA tennis tournament in Basel, after top-seeded Silvia Farina of Italy was forced to withdraw after suffering from heat exhaustion.

Swiss fans watching on centre court were delighted by the warm weather, however, because Farina's withdrawal meant her opponent, Switzerland's Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian, won the match by default.

With temperatures on court touching the mid-thirties, Farina was forced to withdraw while down 6-3, 2-0.

The 17-year-old Swiss player, originally from Armenia but now based in Lausanne, was therefore awarded the second set and the match and automatically proceeds through to the second round.

Success for Mikaelian, currently ranked 167 in the world, comes after her victorious appearance in Klosters at the weekend, where the young Swiss won the Under 18 European title.

Mikaelian told reporters after the match that she had recognised there was something wrong with her opponent.

"I felt right from the start that there was something wrong with Farina," she said.

Something also went badly wrong for Swiss star Patty Schnyder (WTA 34), who had been expected to perform well at the tournament.

The Basel-based player made a spectacular start to her first round tie against Sweden's Asa Carlsson, taking an early 6-2, 5-2 lead before Schnyder's game plan took an unexpected turn for the worse.

In the middle of the second set, Carlsson suddenly took control of the game, breaking Schnyder's serve and going on to win the next set and match, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.

Schnyder was unable to conceal her disappointment as she left the court.

"I am absolutely gutted about my performance," the 22-year-old admitted.

"I just don't understand what went wrong, because everything went fine during training," she added.

Nor did the bright sunshine help Schnyder's Swiss compatriot, Emmanuelle Gagliardi, who also crashed out of the first round after losing to Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 7-5, 5-7, 5-7.

Switzerland's Miroslava Vavrinec, who beat Spain's Ana Isabel Medina-Garigues in the first round on Monday, found out on Tuesday that her second round opponent will be the Czech Republic's Adriana Gersi.

swissinfo with agencies


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